Category Archives: Freedom of Information

IntelWire: FBI Releases Redacted Informant Manuals In Response To FOIA

Kaye Beach
Nov. 1,  2012
Salt Lake City attorney, Jesse Trentadue,  has become legendary for his dogged determination to find the truth about his brother, Kenneth Trentadue’s brutal murder while in custody at the Federal Transfer Center located in Oklahoma City in 1995.
On August 18, 1995, Kenneth Trentadue was confined in the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Federal Transfer Center (“FTC”) in Oklahoma City, after being arrested for a parole violation.  Two days later he was dead. When the Bureau of Prisons ruled his death a suicide his family became alarmed, knowing Kenneth had no reason to end his life. Thus began a 17-year journey to find the truth. Read more
 Jesse Trentadue has yet to gain justice for his brother, Kenneth, but he has repeatedly shined the light on many facts about the inner workings of our government, particularly the FBI that is of great benefit to the public at large.
Here is the latest.
According to a federal lawsuit filed on Oct. 18, 2012 by Trentadue;
“FBI defendants’ disturbing practice of using private citizens as spies in the media, on defense teams, in religious organizations as well as state and federal government is designed to and does result in the circumvention of the protections guaranteed to American citizens by the Bill of Rights and the Separation of Powers Doctrine.”
You can read these documents at INTELWIRE.
Sunday, October 28, 201

FBI Releases Redacted Informant Manuals In Response To FOIA

Documents obtained by Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue reveal new details about the FBI’s rules of conduct for informants.

The FBI released 147 pages of heavily redacted manuals and policies related to the use of informants, in response to a FOIA request by Trentadue, who is engaged in a years-long lawsuit with the FBI over documents related to the Oklahoma City bombing.

Read the documents here

Read more from INTELWIRE

Dept. of Homeland Security Releases 2012 Privacy Report

Kaye Beach

September 28, 2012

Th report touts small improvements but bigger problems are revealed.

EPIC the Electronic Privacy Information Center reports;

The Department of Homeland Security has released its 2012 Privacy
Office Annual Report to Congress. The report details the expansion of
the National Counterterrorism Center’s five-year retention policy for
records on US Persons, the agency’s social media-monitoring initiatives,
and privacy training for fusion centers personnel; however, it does not
discuss several new DHS-funded initiatives, including the Future
Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, a “Minority-Report”-like
proposal for “pre-crime” detection. Also, according to the report the
Transportation Security Administration has still failed to adopt
privacy safeguards for airport body scanners.

Two DHS Privacy Office investigations led to the finding of agency non-
compliance. One of those investigations involved DHS’s use of social
media monitoring. EPIC filed a FOIA request on DHS’ social media
monitoring program in April 2011, then filed suit against DHS in
December 2011 in order to force the disclosure of documents related
to the monitoring program, which searched for both suspicious
“keywords” and dissent against government programs. Earlier in 2012,
Congress held an oversight hearing on the DHS social media monitoring
program, and cited the documents obtained by EPIC.

While the report acknowledges agency shortcomings, it also touts DHS
privacy and transparency training as well public engagement through
speaker series, a redesigned FOIA site, and quarterly privacy advocacy
meetings. Significantly, the report fails to address the lack of timely
notice-and-comment rulemakings, particularly the TSA’s lack of
rulemaking on body scanners, ordered by a court in 2011 in response to
a suit brought by EPIC.

The report discusses DHS’ increased use of Privacy Compliance Reviews
(PCRs), which cover programs including cybersecurity, information
sharing, and the use of social media. The DHS Privacy Office used these
reviews to fail eight of its own agency programs for their lack of
privacy compliance documentation. None of the eight programs are
identified in the report, nor are any details of their lack of privacy
compliance.

The DHS Chief Privacy Office must present annual reports to Congress
and is also required by law to ensure that new agency programs do not
diminish privacy in the US.

DHS Privacy Office:  2012  Annual Report to Congress (Sept. 2012)
http://epic.org/redirect/092812-dhs-2012-privacy-report.html

EPIC:  DHS Privacy Office
http://epic.org/privacy/dhs-cpo.html

EPIC:  Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST)
http://epic.org/privacy/fastproject/

EPIC:  Fusion Centers
http://epic.org/privacy/fusion/

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Social Media Monitoring)
http://epic.org/foia/epic-v-dhs-media-monitoring/

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanner Program)
http://epic.org/redirect/092812-epicvdhs-scannersuspend.html

 

Volume 19.18                                       September 28, 2012
———————————————————————–

Published by the
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Washington, D.C.

http://www.epic.org/alert/epic_alert_19.18.html

“Defend Privacy. Support EPIC.”
http://epic.org/donate

Study finds warrantless police cell-phone tracking widespread and OKC PD response to FOI request

 

Kaye Beach

April 5, 2012

 

Warrantless cell-phone tracking widespread, study finds

By Donald White  Apr 02, 2012

Many U.S. police departments are tracking the location of cell phones without a warrant or court supervision, according to an investigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Starting last summer, ACLU affiliates around the country began filing hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests with law enforcement agencies to find out about their policies and procedures governing cell-phone location tracking.

Many agencies didn’t respond at all. But based on more than 5,500 pages of documents from the 200 agencies that did respond, the ACLU found that although police departments routinely use cell-phone location tracking in their investigations, “only a tiny minority reported consistently obtaining a warrant and demonstrating probable cause to do so.”

Read More

 

From the ACLU;

Cell Phone Location Tracking Public Records Request

April 4, 2012

Of all of the recent technological developments that have expanded the surveillance capabilities of law enforcement agencies at the expense of individual privacy, perhaps the most powerful is cell phone location tracking. And now, after an unprecedented records request by ACLU affiliates around the country, we know that this method is widespread and often used without adequate regard for constitutional protections, judicial oversight, or accountability.

Cell phones register their location with the network several times a minute and this function cannot be turned off while the phone is getting a wireless signal. The technology’s threat to personal privacy is breathtaking.

All cell phones register their location with cell phone networks several times a minute, and this function cannot be turned off while the phone is getting a wireless signal. The threat to personal privacy presented by this technology is breathtaking: To know a person’s location over time is to know a great deal about who a person is and what he or she values. As the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. explained:

“A person who knows all of another’s travels can deduce whether he is a weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups — and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.”

The government should have to obtain a warrant based upon probable cause before tracking cell phones. That is what is necessary to protect Americans’ privacy, and it is also what is required under the Constitution. In United States v. Jones, a majority of the Supreme Court recently concluded that the government conducts a search under the Fourth Amendment when it attaches a GPS device to a car and tracks its movements. The conclusion should be no different when the government tracks people through their cell phones, and in both cases a warrant and probable cause should be required.

Until now, how law enforcement agents use cell phone tracking has been largely shrouded in secrecy. What little was known suggested that law enforcement agents frequently tracked cell phones without obtaining a warrant based on probable cause.

In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed over 380 public records requests with state and local law enforcement agencies to ask about their policies, procedures and practices for tracking cell phones.

What we have learned is disturbing. While virtually all of the over 200 police departments that responded to our request said they track cell phones, only a tiny minority reported consistently obtaining a warrant and demonstrating probable cause to do so. While that result is of great concern, it also shows that a warrant requirement is a completely reasonable and workable policy.

The government’s location tracking policies should be clear, uniform, and protective of privacy, but instead are in a state of chaos, with agencies in different towns following different rules — or in some cases, having no rules at all. It is time for Americans to take back their privacy. Courts should require a warrant based upon probable cause when law enforcement agencies wish to track cell phones. State legislatures and Congress should update obsolete electronic privacy laws to make clear that law enforcement agents should track cell phones only with a warrant.

Below is an overview of our findings and recommendations.

Read more

 

 Is Your Local Law Enforcement Tracking Your Cell Phone’s Location?

In a massive coordinated information-seeking campaign, 35 ACLU affiliates filed over 380 requests in 31 states with local law enforcement agencies large and small to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. Click on a state in the map below to see what requests we filed in that state, and what documents we received. Click here to learn more about the requests.

http://www.aclu.org/maps/your-local-law-enforcement-tracking-your-cell-phones-location

 

Here is the response from Oklahoma City Police Department;

http://www.aclu.org/files/cellphonetracking/20120328/celltrackingpra_oklahomacitypd_oklahomacityok.pdf

 

FBI explanation of missing Oklahoma City bombing tapes not credible, judge says

Kaye Beach

March 22, 2012

From Deseret News published March 21, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge on Wednesday continued to question the FBI’s explanation for not producing videotapes associated with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that a Salt Lake lawyer has sought for nearly six years.

“It’s quite astounding that documents as important as these went missing and the FBI says, ‘Well, they’re gone,’” U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said during a motion hearing.

At issue is whether the FBI adequately responded to Jesse Trentadue’s Freedom of Information Act request for footage of Timothy McVeigh parking a truckload of explosives at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Specifically, the Salt Lake attorney is after a building surveillance tape and dashcam video from the Oklahoma state trooper who stopped McVeigh 90 minutes after the explosion that killed 168 people.

The FBI has submitted several declarations from its top records manager to show the agency has searched electronic databases and evidence warehouses without success. But Waddoups said the declarations lack credibility because they do not include firsthand knowledge or details about who, when, where or how the searches were conducted.

“That’s not good evidence,” he said.

Waddoups delayed ruling on the FBI’s motion to dismiss the case and allowed the agency until June 15 to provide a more complete explanation of the searches.

“This is a matter of significant public interest,” the judge said, adding it’s time for it to be resolved.

Read More

DHS Hires General Dyanamics to Track Criticism and Dissent Online

Kaye Beach

Jan. 19, 2012

From an EPIC (the Electronic Privacy Information Center) Alert issued on Jan. 18, 2012;

EPIC: FOIA Docs Reveal DHS Monitoring of Online Political Dissent

As the result of EPIC v. DHS, a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPIC has obtained nearly 300 pages of documents detailing a Department of Homeland Security social media surveillance program. The documents include contracts and statements of work with General Dynamics for 24/7/365 media and social network monitoring and periodic reports to DHS. As part of this contract, General Dynamics was tasked with monitoring media and social networking sites and providing immediate, daily, and weekly summaries to Homeland Security.

The FOIA documents reveal that Homeland Security is tracking criticism and dissent, stating that the contractor should monitor and summarize media stories that “reflect adversely” on DHS or the US government.  (Emphasis mine) DHS also says that the agency is attempting to “capture public reaction to major government proposals.”

No one is surprised. The information gathered here will be combined with all of the other data points on us that the government has access to in order to flesh out the threat assessment being performed, on some level, of all of us.

If you are saying nasty or unflattering things about government agencies or their policies, DHS wants to know so that they will be able to offer effective pressure or counter-propaganda to ideas that they find at odds with their aims.

EPIC continues;

The agency instructs the contractor to generate “reports on DHS, Components, and other Federal Agencies:  positive and negative reports on FEMA, CIA, CBP, ICE, etc. as well as organizations outside the DHS.”

One tracking report held up by the DHS as a example of what a report should include – “Residents Voice Opposition Over Possible Plan to Bring Guantanamo Detainees to Local Prison-Standish, MI” – summarizes dissent on blogs and social networking cites, quoting commenters on popular social networking sites and news media comment boards.

Jan 13, 2012, the New York Times Reports;

Ginger McCall, director of the group’s [EPIC] Open Government Program, said it was appropriate for the department to use the Internet to search for emerging threats to public safety. But, she said, monitoring what people are saying about government policies went too far and could chill free speech.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of political dissent has no legal basis and is contrary to core First Amendment principles,” she said.

Read more

From a Reuters exclusive ‘Homeland Security watches Twitter, social media’ Jan 11, 2012;

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document.

. . .News and gossip sites on the monitoring list include popular destinations such as the Drudge Report, Huffington Post and “NY Times Lede Blog”, as well as more focused techie fare such as the Wired blogs “Threat Level” and “Danger Room.” Numerous blogs related to terrorism and security are also on the list.

Some of the sites on the list are potentially controversial. WikiLeaks is listed for monitoring, even though officials in some other government agencies were warned against using their official computers to access WikiLeaks material because much of it is still legally classified under U.S. government rules.

Another blog on the list, Cryptome, also periodically posts leaked documents and was one of the first websites to post information related to the Homeland Security monitoring program.

Also on the list are JihadWatch and Informed Comment, blogs that cover issues related to Islam through sharp political prisms, which have sometimes led critics to accuse the sites of political bias

Read more

Sources from EPIC;

EPIC:  Freedom of Information Act Request to DHS (April 12, 2011)

http://epic.org/redirect/011812-epicvdhs-social-foia.html

EPIC:  FOIA Documents Received from DHS (Jan. 12, 2012)

http://epic.org/redirect/011812-epicvdhs-social-foia-docs.html

NY Times:  ‘Federal Security Program Monitored Public Opinion’

(Jan. 13, 2012)

ComputerWorld: ‘DHS Media Monitoring Could Chill Public Dissent, EPIC 

Warns’ (Jan. 16, 2012)

EPIC: EPIC v. DHS (Media Monitoring)

http://epic.org/foia/epic-v-dhs-media-monitoring/

DHS Ordered to Obtain Public Input on Naked Body Scanners, Refuses to Comply

Kaye Beach

Dec 23, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security was court ordered to gain public comment on the body scanners five months ago but to date, has not complied.  EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Foundation filed papers today, for the second time, seeking compliance from the DHS.

The DHS in this matter as well as others, seems to think that the agency is above the  laws of this country.

 

From the Electronic Privacy Coalition newsletter;

=======================================================================
[1] EPIC to Court: Force DHS Compliance with Public Comment Mandate
=======================================================================

EPIC has filed papers [on Dec 32, 2011] in federal court, seeking, for the second time this year, to enforce an order that requires the Department of Homeland
Security to begin a rule making on the controversial airport body
scanner program.

As a result of EPIC’s ongoing lawsuit against DHS,

  • the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency violated federal law by installing body scanners as primary screening devices without first soliciting public comment.
  • The Court also held that travelers had a right to opt-out of the airport body scanners.

More than two years ago EPIC and a coalition of civil liberties and
civil rights organizations petitioned Secretary of Homeland Security
Janet Napolitano to provide the public the opportunity to comment on
the program.

Through Freedom of Information Act litigation, EPIC had already obtained
hundreds of traveler complaints, including instances when travelers
said that TSA officials retaliated against them for choosing not to go
through the body scanners. Privacy and traveler advocates, health
and security experts, as well as airline pilots have also raised questions
about the screening procedures.

In July 2011, the Court ordered Homeland Security to “promptly” seek
public comment, but the agency has failed to respond. The Court’s
decision held that “the TSA has not justified its failure to initiate
notice-and-comment rulemaking before announcing it would use AIT
scanners for primary screening.”

The appeals court’s decision states that “None of the exceptions urged
by the TSA justifies its failure to give notice of and receive comment
upon such a rule, which is legislative and not merely interpretive,
procedural, or a general statement of policy”, adding that “Few, if any
regulatory procedures impose directly and significantly upon so manymembers of the public.”

In the motion to enforce, EPIC highlighted a recent report by
ProPublica, which described the DHS’s failure to take account of
radiation risks posed by body scanners. EPIC also noted the European
Commission’s recent decision to limit body scanner use within the EU.
The European Commission specifically banned the use of backscatter
x-ray devices in the European airports because of public health
concerns. Meanwhile, DHS is lobbying Congress to increase the use of
these devices in the United States.

EPIC:  Motion to Enforce Order on DHS (Dec. 23, 2011)
http://epic.org/redirect/122311-epicvdhs-motion-to-enforce.html

EPIC v. DHS:  Full Body Scanner Radiation Risks
http://epic.org/redirect/110911-epicvdhs-radiation.html

DC Circuit Court:  Opinion on EPIC v. DHS (July 15, 2011)
http://epic.org/redirect/071911_circuit_opinion_epicvdhs.html

ProPublica:  Series on Body Scanner Radiation
http://www.propublica.org/series/body-scanners

European Commission:  Press Release on EU Scanners (Nov. 14, 2011)
http://epic.org/redirect/112911-eu-scanner-release.html

EPIC:  EPIC v. DHS (Suspension of Body Scanners)
http://www.epic.org/redirect/031111EPICvDHS.html

Eric Holder, Time to Pay Your Trentadues?


 Kaye Beach

Dec 20, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder certainly has much to answer for and it is  even possible that after so many years, the Attorney General might be close to paying his dues to the Trentadue family for his role in obstructing the investigation into the death of Kenneth Michael Trentadue back in 1995.

Right now, all eyes are on Fast and Furious, a program of the ATF that was overseen by the DOJ with Holder at the helm of  that agency.

Operation Fast and Furious

Members of Congress calling for Attorney General Eric Holder’s immediate resignation
WASHINGTON – New documents obtained by CBS News show Attorney General Eric Holder was sent briefings on the controversial Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010. That directly contradicts his statement to Congress.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20115038-10391695.html

The public is rightfully angry and they have their eyes trained on Holder so it is no surprise that a recent article posted by the American Free Press attacking Attorney General Holder caught some attention.  The problem with the article is that it was inaccurate and unsubstantiated.

It wouldn’t be worth mentioning except that the flawed information could do a real disservice to a gentleman that has been working for years to try and right a wrong and in the process has uncovered a huge amount of damning information related to the OKC bombing and been a great thorn in Eric Holder’s side to boot.

Articles like the one put out by the AFP (which has been removed as of yesterday) are a distraction from the facts which are explosive enough that they need no embellishment.

Jesse Trentadue is a Salt Lake City attorney and was recently interviewed about his ongoing efforts to obtain justice for his brother in the newly released documentary “A Noble Lie“. He has been pursuing justice for the murder of his brother, Kenneth Trentadue, since 1995.  Kenneth died while he was in federal custody at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center and the federal government, including Eric Holder, has blocked any investigation of Kenneth Trentadues’ death at every turn.

“Trentadue’s and Trentadon’ts” is telling verbiage used in email memos  obtained by Jesse Trentadue from the DOJ in which  the coverup is referred to as the “Trentadue Mission” and is characterize  as being like the “The Invasion of Normandy”

“Mr. Holder’s job was to cover-up my brother’s murder, basically to stop all inquiry,” said Trentadue, saying the e mails were “inflammatory,” referring as they do to “Trentadue’s and Trentadon’ts”. link

The erronous AFP article makes the allegation that Eric Holder managed an FBI operation that provided explosives to Tim Mcveigh and Terry Nichols right before the OKC bombing.  AFP attributes this information to documents produced as a result of Jesse Trentadue’s legal battles over the death of his brother.   The information revealed by Jesse Trentadue’s battle is eye opening and incredibly important but what is alleged by AFP  is not what these documents show.

Distortion of the facts produces sensational headlines like this;

AG Eric Holder was responsible for 168 deaths in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing…and more

These writers seem to have their facts mixed up which is a shame because there really is a story here that deserves to be told correctly and with the correct source documents.  Others in the blogosphere have noted the same.  Here and here

The AFP writes;

Eric Holder, current attorney general of the United States, managed an FBI operation that provided explosives to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols just prior to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, according to official documents released during the ongoing investigation into government foreknowledge of the supposed terrorist attack.

. . . Holder had authorized the FBI to provide explosives to Nichols and McVeigh, then lost track of both the explosives and their targets

http://americanfreepress.net/?p=1885&mid=5572  (The article has been removed.)

Another inaccuracy that should be addressed is that the AFP mistakenly identifies Kenneth Trentadue as a government informant.   Kenneth Trentadue was probably  killed due to a case of mistaken identity.  The person that Kenneth was mistaken for could have been a government informant but nothing at all suggests that Kenneth himself was.

I spoke with Jesse Trentadue by phone yesterday afternoon about the AFP article and here is what he had to say about the matter;

“Mr. Holder has done a lot for which he should be impeached.  However, he did not become Deputy Attorney General until 1997, which was two years after the Oklahoma City Bombing.  Mr. Holder, therefore, obviously had no, direct or indirect, involvement in the Bombing itself.”

He doesn’t let Holder off easy though.

 “That said, I believe that the Oklahoma City Bombing was some how related to a sting operation by the FBI called “PATCON,” which was in operation throughout most of the 1990s and Mr. Holder most certainly would have known about PATCON.  I also believe that Mr. Holder, as Deputy Attorney General, helped to keep the truth about the Oklahoma City Bombing from the American people.”

PATCON   Short for “Patriot Conspiracy”, is a very interesting FBI operation that is threaded through some of the most shocking acts of violence that occurred in the 1990′s. Information regarding PATCON  has been very tough to uncover, however that may be changing.

From a Nov 21, 2011 posting by the Sipsey Street Irregulars;

I also knew from sources, living and dead, that PATCON was the worst scandal that the FBI ever perpetrated. PATCON could sink the FBI, perhaps permanently, and along with the Gunwalker Scandal, totally discredit the teflon coating that the Bureau has excreted around its corrupt core

. . .And now we know what a cabal of New York editors under pressure from a frightened FBI and nervous White House can do to the story of the greatest crime ever perpetrated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation — they can gut it, reducing it almost to innocuousness, all to protect criminals who hide behind federal badges and to shield the politicians who sent them.

. . .Sources in advance of the story said that FBI was very afraid of this article. “They don’t want PATCON mentioned,” said one source. “Not ever, by anybody. Because it leads to OKBOMB (the FBI name for the Oklahoma City bombing case), Elohim City (Oklahoma, a Christian Identity community), (German undercover agent Andreas Carl) Strassmeier, the McVeigh-Strassmeier connection, the Aryan Republican Army, the whole shebang.”

Read more-SSI EXCLUSIVE: The “Patriot Conspiracy” fix at Newsweak. Tina Brown guts a story to protect Democrats & the FBI. “PATCON will get you killed.”

Read more Here and here

I recommend keeping a close eye on the Sipsey Street Irregulars for dependable information regarding this story.  We may indeed be in the verge of a great unraveling as hinted to by SSI in their Nov 21, article;

There are many more dark corners of PATCON that have yet to be explored and Mr. Matthews will certainly be an excellent tour guide for some enterprising reporter who doesn’t work for Tina Brown and who is willing to get to the truth.

There are even links from PATCON to the Gunwalker Scandal.

. . .Future articles here at Sipsey Street will explore the details of the murder of Kenney Trentadue and Eric Holder’s role in covering them up. It will also deal with the tale of how a U.S. Attorney in Arizona made the proffer to McVeigh associate Michael Fortier in order to flesh out the “lone bomber theory” and divert attention away from Elohim City, the Aryan Republican Army and federal undercover informant Andreas Carl Strassmeier.

The name of that United States Attorney was Janet Napolitano.

Read more

Disregard disinfo and keep pressing for the truth.  If you want to get current on the facts of the Oklahoma City Bombing, get a copy of the newly released documentary by Free Mind Films; A Noble Lie, Oklahoma City 1995.

My review of A Noble Lie

If you are not familiar with the death and cover up of Kenneth Michael Trentadue, here are some links to follow.

This  legal brief lays out what Jesse Trentadue had discovered as of 2009,  as a result of his ongoing battle with the federal government to find out what happened to his brother Kenneth and why.

2009 Court Brief

Intelwire has a library of the Trentadue and related documents available.

Fred Jordan, as chief medical examiner, vents his frustration in having his investigation stymied at every turn in this 1997 FOX25 newscast.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86hZhcjZHE8

Senator Orrin Hatch follows suit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGfEkvpsKAs

Covering up murder

In a letter [dated Dec.  19 2008] to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy late last week, Trentadue charged that Eric Holder — a Deputy Attorney General during the Clinton Administration — took part in covering up the alleged murder of Trentadue’s brother, Kenneth, in August 1995. Trentadue included copies of several internal Justice Department documents which he alleges show Holder’s role in a cover-up.

Read the letter and documents

From What Really Keeps Eric Holder Awake At Night
From the Corbett Report, April 17, 2011

 Requiem for the Suicided: Kenneth Trentadue

http://www.corbettreport.com/episode182-kenneth-trentadue/

The Corbett Report also provides documentation for the issues discussed.

WikiLeaks Begins Info Dump ‘The Spyfiles’

Dec 1, 2011

WikiLeaks: The Spy Files

Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries

It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for ’political opponents’ are a reality. Today WikiLeaks began releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry.  Working with Bugged Planet and Privacy International, as well as media organizations form six countries – ARD in Germany, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK, The Hindu in India, L’Espresso in Italy, OWNI in France and the Washington Post in the U.S. Wikileaks is shining a light on this secret industry that has boomed since September 11, 2001 and is worth billions of dollars per year. WikiLeaks has released 287 documents today, but the Spy Files project is ongoing and further information will be released this week and into next year.

More

http://wikileaks.org/the-spyfiles.html

______________________________________

News

Assange: ‘iPhone, Blackberry, Gmail users – you’re all screwed’

Inside the shadow world of commercialised spook spyware

 

Wikileaks’ Spy Files paints damning picture of tech surveillance

_______________________________________

Kaye Beach

Dec 1, 2011

Wikileak Spyfile find #1

Alcatel-Lucent Unified  Lawful Interception Suite (These are the guys implementing Oklahoma’s Smart meter/grid communications system) 1357 ULIS adds lawful interception functions to Alcatel-Lucent products, adapting their internal interfaces to the standard lawful interception interfaces of law enforcement agency monitoring facilities.

More about Alcatel Lucent’s Smart Metering for Energy Utilities
•Access and Backhaul Networking:
•Allows bi-directional communication —ultimately enabling the utility to not only measure consumption, but also to actively influence or control it.
•Meter Data Management:
•The meter data management system manages the collection of metering data and organizes it: by customer, customer type, geography, retailer or any other relevant criteria.
•Tariff Management:
•Allows providers to charge flexibly for electricity service—structuring tariffs in ways that ultimately change energy consumption.
•Asset Management:
•The asset management system allows operators to keep track of their many assets and the interconnections of those assets to form smart metering network.

http://www.freezepage.com/1322596028QJRVHSCZLA

_______________________________________________

TSA, FDA, Lobbyists and Naked Scanners-Welcome to Radiation Nation

Kaye Beach

Nov. 4, 2011

 

. . .the first report to trace the history of the scanners and document the gaps in regulation that allowed them to avoid rigorous safety evaluation.

. . .

Because of a regulatory Catch-22, the airport X-ray scanners have escaped the oversight required for X-ray machines used in doctors’ offices and hospitals. The reason is that the scanners do not have a medical purpose, so the FDA cannot subject them to the rigorous evaluation it applies to medical devices.

 

A classic example of giving an inch and they take a mile and how lobbyists can grease the skids of congress.

From Pro Publica published Nov. 1, 2011

U.S. Government Glossed Over Cancer Concerns As It Rolled Out Airport X-Ray Scanners

On Sept. 23, 1998, a panel of radiation safety experts gathered at a Hilton hotel in Maryland to evaluate a new device that could detect hidden weapons and contraband. The machine, known as the Secure 1000, beamed X-rays at people to see underneath their clothing.

One after another, the experts convened by the Food and Drug Administration raised questions about the machine because it violated a longstanding principle in radiation safety — that humans shouldn’t be X-rayed unless there is a medical benefit.

“I think this is really a slippery slope,” said Jill Lipoti, who was the director of New Jersey’s radiation protection program. The device was already deployed in prisons; what was next, she and others asked — courthouses, schools, airports? “I am concerned … with expanding this type of product for the traveling public,” said another panelist, Stanley Savic, the vice president for safety at a large electronics company. “I think that would take this thing to an entirely different level of public health risk.”

The machine’s inventor, Steven W. Smith, assured the panelists that it was highly unlikely that the device would see widespread use in the near future. At the time, only 20 machines were in operation in the entire country.

“The places I think you are not going to see these in the next five years is lower-security facilities, particularly power plants, embassies, courthouses, airports and governments,” Smith said. “I would be extremely surprised in the next five to 10 years if the Secure 1000 is sold to any of these.

Read more

Facial recognition – Jokesville says UK’s “Great Bane”

Kaye Beach

Oct 10, 2011

Facial Recognition-”The technology doesn’t work”

David Moss, in response to my info dump on the FBI and their plan to unleash facial recognition on a national scale, provides us with some absolutely critical information and some invaluable advice as well.

In case you are wondering, David Moss is an IT Specialist, Researcher and longtime campaigner against the UK’s biometric ID scheme.  He was a guest on AxXiom For Liberty last April when he detailed for us some BIG problems with biometric identification that we often overlook in our outrage over the loss of our privacy and freedoms.  (Listen to that show here.)

He is the “Great Bane” of government waste and corruption, in my estimation and I have to confess that when I grow up(figuratively speaking, of course) I want to be just like David Moss.

David’s work proved that India’s plan to bio metrically identify and number 1.2 billion of India’s people is bound to fail.  India’s ID card scheme – drowning in a sea of false positives

David says;

“Once your students have finished Facial Recognition 101, the better ones will have understood that the technology doesn’t work.”

And

“This roll-out is an opportunity. Not a threat. Grab it with both hands, embrace it and enjoy it”

This information was too important to leave parked in the comments section so I am re-posting his comments in their entirety.  Take note activists, this is a priceless lesson from a real pro!


Facial recognition – Jokesville 1

Kaye, thank you for the refresher course.

Please find herewith further material for the refresher course.

Once your students have finished Facial Recognition 101, the better ones will have understood that the technology doesn’t work.

Let’s be clear. Don’t let’s mix up our biometrics. They’re not all the same.

DNA, irisprints, traditional fingerprinting – they’re all biometrics worth worrying about from the point of view of privacy. But two-dimensional facial recognition? That’s what Aliya Sternstein’s article is about. That’s the new service being launched nationwide. Forget it. It doesn’t work. It’s jokesville.

At last the suppliers of 2-D facial recognition technology have been lured into a very public demonstration of the reliability or otherwise of their wares. They’ve never had to submit to this discipline before. They’ve never provided any warranties. Now they may find themselves twisting in the wind, hung out to dry, publicly humiliated and exposed as charlatans, mountebanks, snake oil salesmen, astrologers who convince only the simple-minded.

This roll-out is an opportunity. Not a threat. Grab it with both hands, embrace it and enjoy it.

continued …

Facial recognition – Jokesville 2

May I suggest a five-point plan to take advantage of the FBI’s proposed NGI trial?

The idea is to get the trial results widely published so that everyone can see whether they should share the vendors’ confidence in their own products. If not, the FBI can safely drop the technology, without impugning crime-fighting, and public money can be better invested elsewhere (or left with the public, who probably know better how to invest it).

1. Aliya Sternstein’s article says: “FBI officials would not disclose the name of the search product or the vendor”. Time for a freedom of information (FOI) request. This is public money being spent here. No doubt the FBI and the vendor have a mass of confidentiality agreements protecting intellectual property and future commercial interests. Fine. But the public have rights, too. Step #1. Get the names of the vendor and the product being used. There are a lot of people involved in this trial. The FBI, NIST, law enforcement in Michigan, Washington, Florida and North Carolina, Lockheed Martin and, no doubt, others. If FOI doesn’t succeed in getting the names, they’ll leak out from one of those sources.

2. Aliya Sternstein’s article says: “NGI’s incremental construction seems to align with the White House’s push to deploy new information technology in phases so features can be scrapped if they don’t meet expectations or run over budget”. Good. So this roll-out is in the nature of a technology trial. Technology trials can fail. That’s the whole point. That’s scientific method. And if the trial fails, the “features can be scrapped” – that’s what the White House wants. In line with that, step #2, pressure must be brought to bear on the FBI/NGI to run this like a proper trial. The protocol must be published. The trial will be run like this … these are the acceptance criteria … results will be collated like so … and if they don’t meet the criteria, the “features” have failed and will be dropped and no more public money will be wasted on them. This is the upright, responsible, businesslike way to assess the technology. You won’t be putting the FBI on the spot, they won’t have their back to the wall. Having met James A. Loudermilk II of the FBI, I have no doubt that this is exactly the way the FBI would expect to run this trial.

3. Aliya Sternstein’s article says the FBI “gained insights on the technique’s accuracy by studying research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology”. Good. Step #3 – get on to NIST. A long time ago, NIST produced a report on the Face Recognition Vendor Test 2006, NISTIR 7408. They must have more up to date reports, but you could start with this one.

3.1 NISTIR 7408 gets you a list of people to contact – P. Jonathon Phillips, W. Todd Scruggs, Alice J. O’Toole, Patrick J. Flynn, Kevin W.
Bowyer, Cathy L. Schott, Matthew Sharpe. These people are proper academics. They trade on their reputation. They protect their reputation. They speak the truth.

3.2 It gets you a list of vendors – Cognitec, Identix*, Neven Vision, Rafael, Sagem*, SAIT, Toshiba, Tsinghua U(niversity), Viisage* (p.9).

3.3 It gets you a list of the test databases used (p.35). There are five for 2-D facial recognition. Four of them have less than 350 people on them. Those samples are too small to tell anything.

3.4 So we’re only interested in the results of the database with 36,000 people on. The low-resolution images there were gathered under controlled conditions. You can do that with prisoners (which is who NIST and others tend to get their large volume data from). You can’t with mugshots of non-cooperative suspects. The results are in Figure 20 (p.46). Figure 20 measures reliability at three levels – 1 false accept in 100, 1 in a 1,000 and 1 in 10,000. Given that the word is “this is not something where we want to collect a bunch of surveillance film and enter it in the system … that would be useless to us. It would be useless to our users”, presumably the FBI will use 1 in 1,000 or even 1 in 10,000. At those levels, false rejects vary between about 5 in 100 and 18 in 100. Jokers love quoting that bit on p.2 where it says “The FRVT 2006 results from controlled still images and 3D images document an order-of-magnitude improvement in recognition performance over the FRVT 2002″. Some technologies saw an improvement. But not 2-D low resolution facial recognition, that’s shown no improvement at all.

4. Back in 2009, NIST advised the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on the biometrics to use for their Aadhaar scheme. As a result, India has adopted flat print fingerprints and irisprints to identify their 1.2 billion people. Not facial recognition. That has been dropped. It isn’t good enough. And if it isn’t good enough for India, how can it be good enough for the US? Step #4 – get on to NIST again, and maybe the UIDAI.

5. The business schools of the world also tested facial recognition to try to stop “plants” taking exams on behalf of less gifted students. They dropped it. They tested flat print fingerprinting and dropped that. It doesn’t work well enough. Now they’re testing palm veinprints. If facial recognition isn’t good enough for the business schools, how can it be good enough for the FBI? Step #5 – get on to GMAC.

———-

* all now owned by Safran Group under the umbrella of Morpho.

Facial recognition – Jokesville 3

Some miscellaneous points:

1. The false accept rates mentioned above range from 1 in 100 to 1 in 10,000. What does that mean? It means that the mugshot submitted by Florida law enforcement, or whoever, will falsely match between 1 in 100 and 1 in 10,000 of the 10 million mugshots on the FBI’s database. That means the enquiry will return between 1,000 and 100,000 possible matches. The number can be reduced by excluding the dead people still on the FBI database. But Florida’s still going to have an awful lot of mugshots to look through. It may not be worth it.

2. The false reject rates mentioned above range between 5 in 100 and 18 in 100. So between 5% and 18% of the Florida mugshots submitted will be falsely rejected – i.e. there is a match on file but the software doesn’t find it. Again, it may just not be worth it. Especially as those figures (5%, 18%) were obtained in a lab test, doing just a computer run. In the live, operational environment, the false reject rate is likely to be much higher.

3. (A note for students on Facial recognition 102. When you’re doing a lab test, you should speak about “false match rates” and “false non-match rates”. When you’re doing a field trial, voluntary and co-operative subjects in a simulation of the real environment, you should talk about “false accept rates” and “false reject rates”. And when you’re in the live, operational environment, it’s “false positive identification rates” and “false negative identification rates”.)

4. Professor John Daugman, an American working at Cambridge University, England, and the man who invented irisprinting reckons that there’s no hope for facial recognition, not with big populations, and precious little for flat print fingerprinting. “Irises have about 249 degrees-of-freedom, … whereas faces have only about 20 degrees-of-freedom (independent dimensions of variation), and fingerprints have about 35″. There’s just not enough randomness in faces to make facial recognition useful. Don’t let the FBI spend too much money on this trial before calling it a day.

5. There will be objections to the points made in these three posts. Mr Moss doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Mr Moss confuses 1-to-1 matching with 1-to-many. Mr Moss knows perfectly well that the job the FBI hope to do with this trial is quite different to the UIDAI’s Aadhaar scheme. These objections sound good. But pursue them before accepting them. The objector may not know what he or she is talking about. Mr Moss, unsurprisingly, thinks he does know what he is talking about.

6. Some traps the FBI may like to avoid.

6.1 Back in 1998, the police in the London Borough of Newham had been testing Visionics face recognition technology, claimed by the vendors to have driven crime off the streets of Newham, yeah right!, and were quoted as follows in New Scientist magazine: “… in June this year, the police admitted to The Guardian newspaper that the Newham system had never even matched the face of a person on the street to a photo in its database of known offenders, let alone led to an arrest”. Why that word “admitted”? Because the police had been lured into promoting the success of the technology, they got themselves on the hook, and then – quite properly – they had to get themselves off. The FBI will not want to make the same, embarrassing mistake.

6.2 Here in the UK we use ePassport technology at 10 of our airports to try to get people through security quickly. If your face matches the biometric template in your passport, you’re through, otherwise not. Does this facial recognition technology work? Sometimes the UK Border Agency say it does, no qualifications. Other times they say it’s still under trial. In the end, we settled on the latter. Lin Homer, the Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency in February 2010 wrote to me saying: “We plan to evaluate all 10 sites. Evaluation of Manchester gave us enough confidence to proceed to expand the trial. We are aware that different environments may impact the use of facial recognition technology, we therefore wished to determine and compare results from more diverse airport environments to ensure the technology is robust and consistent”. The Independent Chief Inspector of UKBA inspected Manchester Airport in May 2010, three months after that letter, he described a number of problems with the ePassport technology and then said at para.5.29 “We could find no overall plan to evaluate the success or otherwise of the facial recognition gates at Manchester Airport and would urge the Agency to do so soon as possible”. Oops.